Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Wanted- Very skinny individuals, to dress up as Cranes and help with a conservation project in Somerset. Yes, a group of Cranes, bred in captivity, have just been released into the Somerset countryside. When they first hatched, the people looking after them all dressed as Cranes, so that the chicks would not think that the humans were their parents. But now the birds are out in the wild, their nesting area has to be patrolled by people dressed as Cranes, because if they catch sight of humans they will not return to the site! I suppose this proves that Cranes are just unbelievably thick.

ETA, the Basque separatists have called a cease fire. During their campaign for an Independent state within Spain and France, they have killed over 800 people in half a century. The BBC refers to them as, 'a terrorist group'.
In the first month of the invasion of Iraq, with the help of the USA we killed an estimated 100,000 Iraqi civilians by bombing their country, not in Europe but half way to China! But we are not terrorists?
Sorry, just trying to work that one out still, before I go on to Ireland, Israel, The Falklands, Gibraltar.......

So back to Prostate Cancer......

I arrived at the radiology department at 9a.m. this morning, aware that every time I had gone into a meeting at the hospital over the past three months, I had never come out expecting to feel how I thought I would.
In the main hospital waiting rooms, some people look a bit sick and others don't look bad at all. However, in the radiology waiting room, most people do look very ill and they all have the same despairing look on their faces. It's a place with a strange atmosphere, as if everyone feels they are in a state of limbo between now and the unknown, with 'hope' as their only friend.

I was greeted by my doctor, a very pleasant lady in full muslim head scarf. Not the little slit thing with just the eyes looking through, just a nice fashionable head covering. She told me all about radiotherapy and when she had finished, I didn't have many questions on my sheet that she hadn't covered.
We looked at my Bone and MRI scan on the big screen, the detail was incredible; my bladder looked like a football stadium. She explained that radiotherapy would involve coming in every day for 37 days. They would use a heat temperature of 74 to slowly turn my prostate into a big pile of gunk (not her words, just my interpretation). The treatment would not hurt but the accumulative effect of the radiation would give me some pain, and generally make me feel run down and unwell. They would be then able to monitor any recurrence by testing PSA levels in my blood. If it did recur then surgery was not an option after radiation because the radiated prostate would be welded to adjoining tissue making it difficult to separate. Continence and Potency, as with surgery are difficult to predict.

One of my final questions to her was, "when do I get to see my Oncologist?" She said, "I am your Oncologist". We both laughed. I assumed that because my appointment was in Radiology, that I was seeing a Radiologist. An Oncologist is a Cancer Specialist who is able to give you all the information that you need, to enable you to make the best possible decision as to your treatment. Sometimes the decision is easy, but in my case the options were far less clear, as are the consequences. She helped me to decide what was best for me, and better still, when I finally made the decision, she agreed that on balance, I had made the right one.

I also learned a little bit more about why there were some unexpected delays in my journey through this process. The doctor told me that 1 in 3 of the population would, at some stage in their lives get some form of cancer. After their weekly MDT meeting, they had to consider all patients in the pipeline and make a judgement, because only 14 people could be fed into the system for treatment every month. Her clinics were booked full, weeks in advance, and if a patient needed to be seen in an emergency, she simply had to come in on her day off, because there was no slack in the system. We get the NHS that we pay for and prioritising is a daily task, even in the Cancer Units.

Having been diagnosed on the 18th June and at that time, not knowing if I had a future, I see real hope ahead. There will be difficult times, especially in the months after surgery, but the continued support of my family and friends will see me through this. Cheers!

I will now see my doctor tomorrow and ask her to refer me to Addenbrookes Hospital near Cambridge. I suspect that it will take a month or so before I have to travel down for surgery, but at least my mind is clear as to the path ahead now.

1 comment:

  1. best decision i think. get rid of it. all the best big boy


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